As parents, we always want to safeguard the apple of our eyes from every bad thing. Sometimes that includes diseases which we weren’t aware of.
It is very devastating when a mother gets to know that her newborn has contracted a severe disease. There have been cases, where the newborns have contracted diseases whose treatment was not only difficult, but it also offered no guarantee of complete recovery. One such disease is meningitis.
I am pouring my heart out in this article. I have a family friend who faced this problem with her newborn and I saw her go through that ordeal. I don’t want anyone to face the same problem, so I am sharing whatever I have learned.
Meningitis: A Deadly Disease
Meningitis is a disease that not everybody knows about. But all parents should know that any newborn, from the age of 2 months onwards, can get this disease. It can be fatal to the child, and even if he does get cured, he might suffer from the after-effects all his life. Even the cure is not specifically known to the experts. For us mothers, it can be very tough to deal with such situations.
Meningitis refers to an infection of the fluid covering the brain and spinal cord. It is a highly unpredictable and potentially devastating disease. It can be caused due to virus as well as bacteria. The bacterial strain of the disease is more dangerous and can be fatal too. Even if the child contracts it and then gets cured, it’s possible that he or she may suffer from problems such as difficulty in hearing, learning disabilities and even paralysis.
Some of the symptoms of meningitis include bulging fontanel, cold hands and feet, stiff neck, fever, chills, rapid breathing, refusal to feed, persistent vomiting, extreme sleepiness, irritation, and crying, especially on being picked up. The appearance of red or dark rashes on the body is also a symptom.
For prevention against the disease, children should be vaccinated with the meningococcal conjugate vaccine, also called MCV. This vaccine is given to children above 11 years of age. However, if the child is resident of an area where the incidence of the disease is high, then you can get them vaccinated between the ages of 2 months and 10 years. It’s the only step that you can take to provide your child with comprehensive protection against this deadly disease.
Protection Against The Disease
Meningitis is an uncommon but dangerous infection. Proper treatment is extremely necessary to prevent death and future complications. Following are some of the ways of protecting the newborns from meningitis:
- Keeping babies away from people who have an infection or cold sores. The disease can be transmitted and can lead to severe circumstances for the child.
- Keeping the child away from large crowds whenever possible and from mosquitoes.
- Preparing food or bottles for the baby and touching the baby only with clean hands.
- Pregnant women between 35 and 37 weeks of pregnancy should be given a group B strep test and in case they test positive, should be treated with antibiotics.
- Consulting a doctor from time to time is a must. Parents should also get their baby prompt medical help in case they contract any infection, and even after that, they should monitor their baby’s progress very carefully.
This information can act as preliminary guide for the disease. One can then consult a doctor for further information and guidance. People should be aware of this disease, especially those who live in the parts where there have been many cases of meningitis.
Author: Gurjeet Chhabra
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger. This is a part of a public awareness initiative on meningitis supported by Sanofi Pasteur India. Sanofi Pasteur bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information.
This article is meant to help create awareness and spread knowledge. Any decision regarding your health and child’s health should be taken after consultation with your doctor. Read my full disclosure here. While all efforts are made to keep articles updated, the speed of research in these fields mean the information often may change when more research knowledge is available. The blog or the author should be in no way held responsible in that case. Written after consultation and discussion with Dr. Abhijit Misra (MD Pediatrician – Healthwealthbridge board of advisors)